How to Stop OCD

How to Stop OCD

Real Choices to Stop OCD

OCDThose suffering from obsessions or compulsions want to know one thing and one thing only; how to stop OCD.

Asking “How to stop OCD?” is simple. Unfortunately getting a simple and easy to understand answers is not. Obsessive thought patterns are complex issues resisting simply techniques and categorizations. Those suffering from OCD have a nervous system that has become trapped in a vicious loop impervious to logic, will power and often medication.

To stop OCD, one must get past the illusion that distracting disruptive thoughts with certain activities or rituals will provide relief. It’s temporary and the cycle always returns. Staying busy may keep the person preoccupied, but only perpetuates the cycle. As soon as the person relaxes and lets down their guard the obsessions come flooding back in.   

You don’t stop OCD by distracting yourself. You stop OCD by working on the real issues, the underlining drivers keeping the person stuck. Unfortunately these don’t always make sense to those who are trying to avoid emotional discomfort. Many are under the impression it is a disease. That’s understandable, since no one intentionally chooses to have unwanted or disturbing ideas. No one purposely chooses to be at odds with their thoughts or feelings.

There is an ongoing debate as to why the neurology of certain people creates obsessive and intrusive thought patterns. At this time there is no definitive or clear cut scientific reason that adequately explains the onset of OCD. In the past genetics and chemical imbalances have been common explanations, even though plenty of experts disagree with these assumptions or realize they are best inadequate and partial rationalizations.

Then what is OCD?

Plain and simple, OCD is a disorder. It’s right in the name, obsessive compulsive disorder; meaning an imbalance exists in the system of the mind or body. A portion of the persons thought or emotional processing abilities are conflicting with other internal processes. The system is out of sync with itself. The person is caught up in their own neurological civil war. These confrontations can create such intense stress, some will no longer trust their own judgments.

Many who want to stop OCD assume an illness and a disorder to be the same thing. They’re not. There is no OCD virus or OCD gene. These simple one dimensional ideas, while desirable by those seeking simple answers are inadequate. For those who wonder why there is no cure for OCD, the answer is simple; it is not an illness. To improve mental health, to stop OCD and effectively expand emotional well being, require other perspectives.

How can you make changes in yourself to stop OCD?

Complex anxiety disorders such as OCD can be viewed as a set of coping mechanisms which have been pushed to such an extreme, they no longer support the person. Their emotional or cognitive limitations have exceeded certain stress thresholds. When a system gets maxed out, communications begin to break down. For those with OCD, internal communications have become counter productive. Thoughts and feelings begin to feed into themselves. Meaningful or productive solutions and perspectives are overlooked. What the person experiences is continuous cycle of undesired ideas.

Most people with OCD are aware their obsessions increase with stress. These people may always have been susceptible to certain sensitivities, creating a perception of the world that doesn’t match the norm. Thus their coping skills to adapt to certain stresses have developed differently, making the individuals prone to certain types of anxieties.

One way for the subconscious mind to deal with an overloaded nervous system is to create an emergency coping mechanism; the obsessions. The old way of coping with stress and life events have failed the person and without alternative choice, obsessions help divert attention away from the real stresses the person has not found a way to cope with.  

choice 4While effective, it is a faulty approach, since OCD severely limits choice. The person’s focus gets stuck on a meaningless, yet discomforting illusion part of them already realizes is not true. That is not an illness, but an internal processing ability and it can be changed. This is not always an easy concept to wrap ones head around. It most certainly is not as convenient of an idea as hereditary or being an illness. The real question is how do you stop OCD.

To stop OCD, the ideal situation is:

  • The person realizes they have a problem. People tend not to change if they don’t see a reason for it. For many, the reason only comes to fruition when the pain becomes unbearable and they feel they have to make it stop. This is when most people seek help. Even then, they don’t really want to confront deeper issues
  • The person is open to making changes in themselves. Most people with OCD tend to rigidly hold on to the things they know. Those who hold on tightly to the ideas of how they want things to be have difficulty letting go so things can be different
  • The person is willing to participate in the change process
  • The person has realistic expectations for making change. Many with OCD are impulsive, they want immediate change. They want what they want when they want it.
  • The person works with someone who can help them embrace their sensitivities and sticking points. Someone who will help them work through needed areas of change in a way they can accept and understand.

For those with obsessive thoughts, this is often asking a lot. They want to change but already deal with internal conflicts and overwhelm. These are underlining considerations for those seeking OCD treatment. The best choice is a therapist who will provide a dynamic environment allowing the needed steps to be achieved with minimal discomfort, yet be adaptable enough to guide the client out of their zone of familiarity

Simple cut and dry answers don’t usually work for complex situations

handwashingTo be in disorder or to have a disorder, means change is required in the system; some aspects of the person will benefit from readjustment or restructuring. For unwanted thinking patterns, this means the awareness levels, processing abilities, strategies and communications channels of thoughts, emotions and behaviors need modification to become more effective, at least in certain places.

That idea can be scary for those with OCD. Many have a strong dislike of the unknown and are used to holding on to what they are familiar with. Yet this should be a comforting approach to embrace. It opens the possibility of stopping the tiresome battles of will power or self control, the feelings of hopelessness and being victim to ones own mind. The idea of being dependent to medication for the rest of their life can begin to slip away. Accepting OCD as a disorder, which allows for the person to restructure themselves makes it easier to accept the needed treatment for change and reconditioning.

But I Can’t Change

But then again, maybe you can. Most certainly no one will stop their OCD by giving up. Trying is only half the journey. When the mind is overloaded, even the simplest of ideas  can seem overwhelming. Solutions are not found staying in discomfort. 

It’s not that a person can’t change, but their way of perceiving certain ideas or problems prevents them from understanding, accepting or interpreting what needs to change. These set patterns also have a strong connection to the emotional centers of the mind. Many studies have shown thought patterns and even the chemical composition of the mind change when thoughts are redesigned to effectively create solutions, when mindfulness is introduced and people are able to release negative emotions and make new neurological associations. The key to overcoming OCD is making sure the emotional aspects of the thought patterns become part of the change process. If not addressed, trying to stop OCD can be difficult.

97% is enough change

The field of epigenics has discovered that only about 3% of our DNA is set in stone. The other 97% is changeable. Thought patterns are always changeable. Emotional patterns are changeable. One way to stop OCD is to work on those things that can change. When ideas are locked in with no way out, some structural process of the persons thinking pattern needs to change. It may not be what the person wants to change, but given the alternative, it is a small price to pay.

At Designed Thinking we have been helping clients stop OCD, adequately diminishing its effects and doing so without the use of medication. Taking action can be scary, but to change, some form of action must be taken. Call the toll free number 866-718-9995 or leave a comment below.


  1. Cyndi Parisu

    I have suffered with mild OCD for 9 years, and am now a teenager. My family and I have seen a psychiatrist a few times, but have stopped as my symptoms decreased. I no longer have any compulsions.. instead, I have developed changing obsessive thoughts. Some last for hours, some days, but either way they bother me a lot. No medication has been taken yet. I want to try some natural healing ways first. Would you recommend introducing some relaxation exercises into my daily routine, meditation perhaps? I know there is CBT I can continue with, but for now I really want to give my mind a break. Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Again, thank you for telling me that I can..and I will..change my OCD.

    • michael

      OCD often transforms from one compulsion or obsession to another, so your situation is fairly common.
      As for relaxation, you can check the article on OCD and meditation. One of the problems with OCD is it tends to overwhelm the person and their entire focus goes to getting away from the discomfort rather than focusing on the real issues underneath. While I applaud you for trying to deal with the OCD without medication, only trying relaxation techniques seems like another way of minimizing discomfort instead of taking proactive action.
      I am wondering why you are choosing to avoid therapy. The OCD is what is not letting your mind take a break. There is an internal civil war going on inside you. It seems like a nice idea that wars would be stopped by just telling everyone to relax, but unfortunately that is not the way it usually works.
      OCD is a complex issue and working with it on many levels is usually the best approach. I know it can be overwhelming and sometimes you just want to get away from it. The problem is you can’t run away from your own thoughts. Use relaxation techniques in conjunction with your therapy.

      • Jasmine
        Not a lot to work with here. The reason for you feeling this way could come from many things. Since this is a relatively new experience for you, you may want to see someone in the area if it continues or give us a call.

    • Dewald Jacobs

      Hi, yes I am having some serious OCD. It is definitely stressing me out.

  2. I have not been diagnosed with OC but think i might have OCD thoughts. I constantly over analyse everything and worry about everything too. specially with my health, i am always getting checked out- any little thing and i am at the doctors thinking it could be life threatening. I feel i am such a paranoid person about life threating things, my boyfriend, crossing the road, and plugs. when leaving the house i check to make sure i have turned off the plugs at least twice (not as much as a typical person with ocd i guess) when i have had a drink and maybe little bits i cant remember of my night i doubt myself and think i would do something terrible- like sleep with someone else, smoke or take drugs (none of which i have ever done before) i constantly doubt myself for days or weeks. i would then go and get myself checked out just incase somethng idi hapen and i might have an STI (again something i have never had, and had lots of test all the time). i am fed up feeling sick and anxious and worried about everything. i would happily have CBT- i know alot about it as funnily enough i have an honors degree in psychology. its just the money situation to pay to see one. ???

    • You know aspects of yourself need to change or your life will remain uncomfortable, so you should never stop yourself from seeking to better yourself. You are in a situation many people face, which is needed therapy is not sought due to financial circumstances. It’s a valid concern, but many believe they can’t afford healthy foods, yet they still eat. So while you may not be able to afford the kind of therapy you want, you can still work on changing yourself.
      Unfortunately in todays information driven society, much of the information is misunderstood or wrong. Even many traditional tried and true phsychological doctrines are being questioned these days.
      Many CBT approaches still rely on medication. Your general doctor can prescibe those.
      If you choose to go medication free (always preferred where possible), work on the underlining problems that are there even without the OCD. You doubt yourself, meaning your mind doesn’t trust your emotions or visa versa. Don’t look to deal with problems by pushing them aside, look to work through them.
      I know these are vague answers, but they are a start – good luck

  3. Great article here!
    My wife suffered a mental breakdown about 3 years ago. She was changing over to a new job, it was a step in a new direction. Everyone else wanted her to have this job more than she ever did herself. It was a lot of change from payroll and book keeping switching into more social engagements and speaking roles. She was there for 3 months and then she just shut down.
    This is where her OCD started. We have seen 4 diff therapists, tried 10 to 12 different medications. The cocktail of med’s alone have made her gain close to 80 pounds. Cognitive Behavioral therapy made her condition 10 times worse. We know that now. This type of therapy was asking questions about her fears and triggers that just exploded them even larger over time. Looking back we would have done many things different.
    I think I know her mental procedures now better then she does at times.
    I loved Psychology in school wanted to major in it but I felt all therapy was leaving care for the soul out of the picture all together. Life is not so matter of fact. Life is a Beautiful thing.
    Therapists will say they are suffering from Compulsive thoughts. This is Not at all true. Rather they are living a life of Fears, Worries and Doubts. Period.
    Fears have taken over. Worries fuel the mind and Doubts steal the show. Time and Time again every part of this Dis-Ease gets worse and worse until all sense of the original true self has eroded to the point of pure and constant self dissapoinment. Hesitation and self disgust are now King over Self Love.
    These people are now broken Souls. They need new types of love and stronger protection. They need to re-define what safety and true happiness really means to them. For some cases of OCD, I think there sense of self was probably never fully developed at the proper age, it can be halted due to familial or environmental stress. My wife is doing much better now, she is down to 1 medication and she is beginning to see clearly again, no longer troubled by the illusion of Fears.
    I have started to write a book titled “OCD- The Out of Control Disorder.” I am a visual person, so I have started use a set of visual scenarios that I think really helped to give my wife different perspectives on her point of view. The subconscious is a protection process. It is always running. It is meant to take over when free-thought does not exist. Everyones thoughts are always free and pure, Do not let people tell you your thoughts are wrong. Miracles and dreams of creative expression happen every single day!
    Please start by reading a little Gem of a book called “Power of Will” by Frank Channing Haddock written in 1907. You can take back control but first you have to redefine your lost sense of Will and redefine your faith in the love of Christ!

    • The core issues lurking behind OCD are not of the mind, rather emotional discomfort that cannot, will not or does not have a means of resolving. If the emotional components and conflicts behind OCD are not addressed and incorporated into the change work, one a few things tends to happen. The persons symptoms get worse, the symptoms change into something else or the person spends the rest of their life fighting to control aspects of themselves through will power. With the latter, they may feel they have achieved some sense of control, but it tends to be an illusion, as the conscious mind is still trying to overpower the unconscious processes of emotoions. It is why many will end up taking medications for the rest of their lives.
      Thanks for your insights

  4. Jeanette

    My son (age 12) has severe OCD and everyone what to put him on medication. I am extremely opposed to medications, especially for children. All the therapists we have seen insist this be part of the treatment. What can I do?
    Troubled Mother

    • Intense obsessive thoughts can always be altered, but there are many opposing ideas as to how to approach a condition as complex as OCD. While there are some programs aimed at children with OCD, these approaches tend to mimic the overall mindset of our medical community today, which is to medicate. At Designed Thinking, we do not work with those under the age of 17, but not a week goes by where a parent or loved one calls in asking for alternatives for their children. Severe OCD in children in disheartening and while we are also against medication as a means for helping people change, the main focus to keep in mind is the desire to get the child in a state of mind where they can function in life and society. Extreme conditions sometimes take extreme measures to overcome.
      There is no easy answer for your question. Keep looking and keep your mind open

      • When I was 11 years old I started having several OCD thoughts. They were debilitating I felt overwhelming guilt and was constantly doing obsessive actions. These included moving rocks off of the sidewalk and pushing chairs in so far the would be tilting. I realize I always had some OCD tendencies as a child but after my grandfather died if cancer when I was 10 they escalated to a level that made everyday life nearly impossible. My mom made the choice to place let a doctor place me on medication. While it was hell finding the right ones, some of them made me a zombie ( I don’t remember much of the first 6 months if meds) eventually we found a medication that worked for me. The medication did encourage weight gain though. Before the meds I was a healthy thin child as the years went on I became obese) however at age 21 I decided to try to wean if the meds. I have lost the weight and since I was treated as a child my OCD is still under control even without meds. Definitely try CBT first but if not try combining with meds. A lot of children if treated properly can get it to a manageable level at adulthood. As I did. I wish you and your child success and remember don’t give up!

  5. I have been dealing with OCD (Fear of Contamination) for over 20 years now. I briefly tried medications but stopped them after a year due to a 25lb weight gain, feeling numb towards my family and sexual loss.

    I am actively seeing a psychiatrist but have not started CBT yet. I am thinking of combining my CBT session with also seeing a hypnotist and somehow integrating the two.

    I have been searching the internet for some type of success stories on OCD and hypnotism and have found very few ( 1 or 2) I finally came upon this site and figured I would ask if you have any experience or advice in this considering my therapist seems doubtful.

    • Ethel,
      With OCD, seeking help from multiple sources can be beneficial. As far as using hypnosis, I will give you my perspective as a trained hypnotherapist and someone who has work extensively with OCD clients for well over a decade.

      The field of hypnosis operates under the assumption that the subconscious mind can produce solutions when the conscious thinking process has been minimized. Usually this is true. The problem for those with OCD is the enormous disconnect that has occurred between their conscious and subconscious mind, between cognitive throughts and emotional states. Those with OCD do not really trust their emotional or mental signals (they spend much of the time fighting their thoughts or trying to stay busy through distractions). If you don’t trust you can effectively handle your own thoughts and emotions, you keep your guard up. It’s not that those with OCD can’t go into a trance, it’s that their subconscious has put up more barriers. Many with OCD are impatient, want instant results, and that is not likely to happen.

      Most hypnotherapist make the mistake of trying to work directly on the obsessions. The problem is the obsessions are distractions and not the root problem (it’s why some will obsess one subject matter one month and then another the next).
      With OCD, there are many factors that need to be addressed to unify the persons conscious / unconscious processes. Most hypnotherapists have no understanding of how OCD is created in the nervous system and the complexities of what keeps it together.

      The principles of hypnosis however are sound. The knowledge of how the subconscious mind responds and actually works can be very helpful tools in helping clients overcome their emotional and mental patterns. But others principles are usually needed and be balanced in in order for effective change to occur and too much change to quickly will be rejected by the subconscious mind if it is not ready to change.
      Luckily there are ways of incorporating all these principles in a way to allow for real change when the therapist and client work together and establish workable ways of integrating thought and emotion.

  6. My OCD seems to be worse with the amount of stress in my life. Money, relationships, legal problems, health, etc. all seem to activate it. My feeling is that the more secure I am in these areas the less OCD is prevalent. Give me a million dollars and I think it would be very minimal. I know this sounds simple, but I think its true nonetheless. Worry about life activates it. I know there are rich people who still have it, but a search of their life would probably uncover some major insecurity or threat that causes it. It is an indirect problem. Reduce the stress and it goes down. OCD is a stress induced problem. This at least, has been my experience.

  7. I am afraid of germs, baterials and virus all the times, which causes me wash hand constantly after touching money, after being outside and etc. Is this OCD?

  8. My 17 year old daughter was officially diagnosed with OCD about 5 months ago. Her symptoms started 4 months before that. Her OCD seems a bit different from others I hear about. She fears contamination, but only in our house. Something happened at school all those months ago that created a “path” of contamination in her mind. Anything that was in contact with her that day, brought the contamination home with her, which in turn, gradually contaminated our whole house. ie. her binder sat on the counter, the plate touched the counter, the knife touched the plate, etc etc. At that time (her lowest point), she wanted therapy and wanted meds. The meds definitely helped her and things started to get easier. We then started therapy, but as soon as she started to hear things she didn’t want to hear, she was not interested in continuing. She won’t “let” the therapy help her. She is desperate to leave home and go off to University next fall. She thinks she will be much better upon leaving the “contaminated house” and claims that we need to let her work through it on her own without help. I am terrified that she will crash and burn if she leaves home without properly dealing with the OCD. At this point, we are on a waiting list for therapy and she is still taking the meds. Do you think since her main worry is within our house, that she WILL be ok once she leaves, or do you think she needs the therapy before heading out on her own. I fear that I won’t be able to get her to therapy when our time comes. I also feel that anytime I “push” the issue and tell her she still needs help, I increase her anxiety and make things worse. Should I just leave her be, and let her deal with it, like she says? …sad mom

    • I can understand your concern. Unfortunately there are no simple answers here. Stress tends to increase the nature of obsessions and going to college most certainly be stressful. That being said, I have worked with many OCD clients who have had contamination obsessions that were confined to one household or a particular area.
      The problem is you never know if, when, how or where these confined areas will spread or intensify. If your daughter is refusing or rejecting help, then there is little you can do. People with OCD can be very stubborn and narrow minded. Just like their obsessions, they can be locked into an idea of how they should get through their problem. You may just need to wait until she creates enough pain for herself or can no longer take the discomfort before she is willing to try a different approach, and even then, she will probably drag her feet.
      So to answer your question, “will she be OK if she leaves the house?” Maybe yes, maybe no

  9. I have a weird form of OCD I believe that if I don’t do certain tasks eg. Swallowing washing hands multiple times washing dishes a certain way I will go back to times that I didn’t like and were bad times in my life. So I do these things in order not to be the person at that time. It’s been a damn struggle and I just want this to stop. I just don’t know how?

    • First your form of OCD is not that weird and in fact variations of this are fairly common.
      Now, the question everyone asks is “How do I make this stop?” OCD is a complex challenge, it is difficult to work on it by yourself. Seek professional assistence, really, you will be doing yourself a favor. Whether you choose CBT or the Designed Thinking approach, you need to get some help. Even though your OCD is fairly common, the mechanism running OCD is different for each person. This difference is why want professional help
      Goof Luck

  10. Oh, where to start? I’m a stay at home mom to 4 beautiful kids under the age of 10. I’ve been drinking sifor 3 years, almost everynight, I always just thought of it as my way of unwinding every night. Staying at hone doing household chores and taking care of 5 other people all the time, I stopped worrying about/taking care of myself so much. I drank more, I gained weight, I stopped talking to friends and even family on a regular basis, I started thinking how fat and unnatractive I was becoming. I started thinking maybe Im not a good mother, or wife, or friend, etc. I’m not kind to myself, at all. I’m sure you’re wondering about the OCD part of this.. I’ve always had OCD tendencies, such as having to have things a certain way, but when my son started preschool this past August, something happened. I don’t know if I had finally worked myself into a nervous breakdown after years of f drinking, depression, loneliness, and self loathing or what, but my son started preschool and bam! I’m home with just a baby, doing the same thing I’ve done all day, everyday, for years, nobody to talk to, not even my 5 uear old anymore and I thought alot about how much I missed my son, how lonely I qas without him here. I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I’d sent two other kids off to school before him and was fine. Here it is, please don’t judge.. I started having unwanted, very intrusive sexual thoughts about my son. I’d never had a thought like that about any child, let alone MY child. I cant even bear to watch or hear about stuff like that on the news yet here I am thinking like this? I beame very depressed and my dr. put me on antidepressants and anxiety meds.. I went to see a psychiatrist and was diagnosed with ocd. After a few sessions I felt better knowing Im not alone, and knowing I would NEVER, EVER hurt my babies anyway, so I stopped going. I have good days, but more bad lately. I’m anxious about EVER. LITTLE. THING. Anytime I get stressed about anything, it spmehow spirals back to the anxiety over OCD and my thoughts, which stresses me out and panics me even more. While in therapy, I was given a list of common intrusive OCD thoughts. Violently harming loved ones was one of them. That wasn’t originally my Obsessive thought, but the more I thought about it and freaked myself out thinking about the what if’s and horrifying thoughts associated with that one, the more unrelenting and full blown it became in my mind too. I cry everyday. I know the thoughts are irrational, I would give my own life for my husband and kids, and would definitely never hurt them, but why can’t I just let it go ?! It’s consuming my life. I’m withdrawn, sad, agitated, disgusted with myself, lonely, hurting. I just want to be normal again.. i don’t know how :(. I think the first syep is to stop drinking, and start loving myself.. stop being so negative.. but I’m just so mentally damaged and exhausted right now, I don’t know where to start.

    • Chels
      Acting is ways we do not want to act while our thoughts and emotions overrun us is never an envious place to be. You can look at it as being mentally ill or you can recognize it as it as having thoughts and emotions that are not able to support you.
      OCD and addictions often run hand in hand. Neither one is overcome by doing things a right way or by just following a set of techniques. But both can be dealt with because people can change. I would go back into therapy. That is a long term commitment you have to make and leaving therapy after you feel good for a few weeks is not a real commitment. If you want to change, it will take time and effort on your part. You are changing the relationship you have with yourself, your sensitivities, your thoughts and emotions. It is not about fixing yourself, it is about finding more supportive ways of being you.
      Also stop reading about OCD. Those who worry or obsess, in their vulnerable state take on traits of the things they read about. You don’t need to know more, you need to get help.
      One last things; OCD plays your values against you, that is what makes them feel so overwhelming. The good news is you will never go through with the obsessive thoughts, because you values are still intact

  11. Thanks for the info, but how does someone get unwanted thoughts just to stop. I don’t want theory, I want actionable steps to take, formulas to follow that will give me success. I have had this for years and therapists don’t understand my situation, give me steps that don’t work or they want to force their opinions on me. I have tried CBT, talk therapy, medication and even hypnosis and nothing works. So what do I do

    • The only way to answer your question is to start with some theory. I know it is not what you want to hear and maybe you are not ready to listen. These are decisions you will have to make, to how open you want to be in finding solutions that will work for you. Sounds like you have already decided how you are going to be fixed or cured. The question is “how is that working for you?”
      First you have to decide how you are going to view OCD. I suspect you have completely bought into the idea it is a disease or a genetic predisposition and that you believe these are fixed properties. What science has confirmed is the mind and nervous system are maluable and ever changing. This is not a new idea. But it is different from what mainstream medicine has taken and its implications at this time are not yet fully understood by most.
      What you want to understand is there is a relationship of thoughts, emotions, sensitivities, awarenesses, conflicts, perceptions and more running within you at many levels. Relationships are never done right. I know that goes against what many have been taught to believe, but how to relate someone or something is an ongoing sequence of intereaction. To do something right is to have some stagnant outcome or finish. You want a preset sequence that you can control with your thought processes. That is a very limited way to relate to anything.
      You want to change? Well had better learn to relate to your thought processes differently, to how you see things and I am not talking about your OCD, I am talking about how you relate to aspects of yourself, to discomfort, to differences, to things beyond your preset ideas. If you can begin to change those, then you can begin to change how your obsessions occur.
      You probably are still not listening, so consider this. Is your OCD exactly the same from week to week, its intensity and frequency? While you may want to answer “yes”, it is only because most with OCD over generalize their perceptions instead of paying attention to the actual distinctions their nervous system is giving. They are so used to pushing negative ideas aside, they stop accurately hearing the feedback their mind and body gives.
      Old tricks of snapping rubberband on your wrists or trying think other things are ineffective, because the person is not relating differently to the discomforts of the mind and body. But you probably already know that. If you want your OCD to stop, you have to change and change is something people with OCD don’t generally like, unless they get to control the change. That is not life my friend.
      Stop trying to do it right. Stop looking for the magic bullet. Work with someone who understands your situation, who understands you and works with you in a way to help you change. Then you will have an opportunity to change your OCD

  12. Great article.

    I would like to hear your opinion on the issue I struggle with these days.

    I was born and raised in an ultra orthodox Jewish family, and the earliest OCD symptoms I can remember started when I was 12 years old. From about the age of 14-15 I started developing extreme religious OCD symptoms, some of which interfered with my ability to perform certain fundamental religious rituals and some incurred extreme feelings of guilt on me.

    An event that occurred when I was 15 caused me to believe that I was subjected to be killed by GOD and thus
    I was feeling that I shouldn’t pray anymore.

    I remember once calling a Rabbi to ask him about a question I had regarding the Jewish law, not knowing that it was OCD.
    In retrospect I believe that had the Rabbi sensed from the nature of the question that it’s OCD I would have ended up seeking help much much sooner.

    Nevertheless, at some point I started getting more and more comfortable with the feeling of guilt so I stopped feeling as guilty and thought that GOD will surely forgive me considering the circumstances. It’s then when the real nightmare began,a whole new category of OCD symptoms started to develop, and unlike my prior religious symptoms, the new ones had nothing to do with religion.

    I developed very strong contamination OCD, or fears, that led me to seek help. Long story short, after a couple of years of struggle, at times even despair, I managed with the help of therapist number 1 to overcome OCD and learn how to avoid the thinking path that leads to fear of touching, eating, ovens, knives etc.

    Now, at that point I was vaccinated from most physical OCD, so the therapist didn’t see a point in my coming to him, even though I didn’t feel cured, but there were no tangible symptoms to base the therapy on.

    After I stopped therapy I began to develop concerns about the way I live life and other recurring concerns didn’t let go. Exhausted from the years and frustrated with religion I started to give up religion altogether while staying with my parents, which means that externally I was(and am) still religious. After consulting several Rabbis, one referred me to therapist number 2. This therapist enlightened me with the fact that my current concerns are in fact also OCD. But, more importantly, this therapist told me that OCD is the symptom not the problem itself and after going through my history we indeed found some troubling things that occurred in my family when I was young.

    The problem is that my therapist tells me that if I want to get better I have to change, which means that first I have to be myself, which means being openly not-religious.
    Now, that’s far beyond my ability since I’m still with my parents (I’m now 22 years old) but my therapist, often raising his voice, keeps on telling me “live your life!” which kind of wakes me and I walk out of his clinic determined to change; needless to say, I lose the motivation and strength as soon as I face the reality of what it may entail.

    What is your opinion? do you think I can change even if it seems unrealistic to me? How would you approach the religion issue, since I feel that the inside of me still wants to be religious.

    • Motty
      People with OCD tend to have areas in their life where their thought processes are somewhat black and white. They make generalizations which may be useful in some parts of their life, but overall tend to inhibit choice. Generalizations by their very nature inhibit choice, which eventually creates conflict.
      Unfortunately, to combat OCD, many therapeutic approaches take black and white approaches to assist clients. Again, these can help in some places, but eventually these generalizations will bring up conflicts within the client.
      Your therapist is right in that the OCD is the symptom. He is also right that you will need to change. But change is seldom all or nothing, it comes in gradients. What he is asking of you does not need to be all or nothing. Religion is not a set practtce, all you have to do is look at the different views people have on faith. There are ways you probably could modify your approach to expressing, or not expressing religion. Being yourself will come in many formats, which of course is held together by being honest with oneself. This is where you seem to be conflicted, what you feel and what you express are not congruent. You need to find a way to become congruent. But it is not reasonable that consciously deciding you want to be different in this area is going to make you change. Some part of you is emotionally invested in your beliefs and until these concerns are addressed in a way that satisfies you subconscious, your emotional needs, you probably will stay conflicted.
      This is what drives the complexity of OCD therapy, that there are many layers of ideas that need to be addressed in a way that allows a person change in a way that is congruent with all of themselves. Some people feel this is not possible, but it happens all the time. That is the nature of changing our relationship with ourselves, our thoughts, our emotions, the complete package of who we are.
      There is a lot more going on here than what was addressed in this exchange and there are other areas that may need to be addressed first before you can begin making changes in yourself. Hope this sheds some light on your situation

    • Rose Weiss

      This is a matter of having a therapist who does not understand ocd. Ocd has made being religious a terrible stressful burden for you. That said, giving up religion will not cure the ocd; it will just shift its focus to some other aspect of your life, leaving you tormented in some other way and likely also feeling lost without the stability of religion, community, and the comfort of familiar traditions and practices. You feel the inside of you still wants to be religious, because religion is a large part of your identity. What you need is a good behavioral therapist with experience in CBT and ERP for scrupulosity and a familiarity with the norms of ultra-orthodox halachah and metaphysical beliefs or an openness to consulting with, preferably haredi or chassidic, rabbinic authorities who have experience in working with psychologists who treat ocd, who are familiar with the presentations of the disease and the methods of treatment and can familiarize the therapist with the norms of ultra-orthodox beliefs and set halachic guidelines for the therapy.
      I realize this is an old thread, but I hope this will help someone suffering from a similar dilemma.

  13. Hi everyone,

    To start off I have always had some form of mild ocd. Touching,counting or intrusive thoughts. Fortunately all of the above have not been an issue in years.
    That being said, I recently over the last few months for some reason keep seeing my nose in my line of sight and it’s driving me nuts! I have had something similar to this years ago and it simply dissipated. What would be the best strategy to help me get this out of my mind. The more I think about it the more aware of it I become and so on.
    Thanks in advance for your advice and kindness!

    • John
      Very often, the part of the obsession we most notice is our awareness. Focusing on anything we can’t do anything about of course is counter productive. But obsessions are driven by emotions and OCD becomes a form of a distraction that kicks in when we are overloaded by stress.
      What is stressful for you and how you create stress is of course a very individualized process. Now hopefully these obsessions will follow the path of your other ones, which is they we resolve on there own. Take a look at your currrent life circumstance, notice your stresses and decide if these are likely to resolve or are they going to be ongoing. If they are going to be ongoing, the obsessions may stick around for a while. If you have goine through some major stresses, they may stick around for awhile.
      It is always easiest to work with a professional to help yourself make changes in you, yet the fact is, most people with OCD resist getting help until they can no longer cope with their obsessions. They either feel it is not a big deal, they are embarased about their situation, they want to do it all on their own, etc.
      You are looking for the trick, the magic bullet to get you through this and that is understandable. But you really want to make changes in yourself. I understand that when you are not obsessing, you feel life is OK and it isBut right now you nervous system is telling you something is not OK
      That being said, you have a few options if you choose to DIY. You can get on medication (always my last choice), you can keep yourself busy (thus distracting your focus elsewhere), you can try and embrace your obsessions (in your case, stop fighting with need to control your focus and accept your focus is not bad or wrong) or you can buy some books on strategies.
      Good luck

      • Hi Michael,

        Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my post. So much of your feedback made sense to me. I lost my Mom last year and a cousin to suicide about 7 years ago. I assume these were stressors at some level for me. As for my current situation, I have a great job, wife I love dearly and 3 beautiful children.
        My wife actually gave birth to our son 3 weeks ago today. I think for myself the real issue is that I want this current obsession with seeing my nose to stop so badly that it’s all I think about and in turn I keep thinking it. I’ve noticed that when I stop “fighting” it impacts me much less and even disappears til I realize it’s been awhile and the it starts again. As for meds I never really considered it to be honest as I do t feel it is something I need to get over this hump. I was considering seeing a professional to see what they thought.
        I have read that everybody can actually see their nose however the brain actually chooses to simply ignore it. I think that when it comes to OCD it just gets hard to become unstuck whether it’s the nose thing or any other thought/obsession or compulsion.
        Thanks again for your response my friend!


  14. rrachel

    Hey there!!! I’m for tfoureen years old recently I have developed a form of ocd mentally I have unwanted thoughts that just won’t go away I have a skykologist I go and see and shes great I still have a hard time with these thoughts that scare me thwy rangle from cutting yourself to suiscide to anorexia to harming somebody I know I would never do ant of these things but they still disturber me help please

    • michael

      Glad you are working with someone who you feel comfortable with. Overcoming OCD can take some time. I don’t know what approach your counselor is providing and it is hard to give any useful feedback without knowing a bit more about your situation. OCD thoughts are disturbing, not because you will follow through with the obsession, but because they feel real. With OCD you are fighting yourself. Give your therapy some time. If you don’t see improvement, you can always change counselors

  15. karen jones

    my son is 18 and has been diagnosed with severe ocd – at score 32 ( of the common measurement system). – it is almost but not entirely mental and mostly centres around violent thoughts. he has started cbt/erp but is not really engaging nor is he really accepting the diagnosis. He is very bright and very strong in mind and body. he says he will fix it his way – but that is by doing more compulsions. he has missed his last 2 yrs of senior school and hope of him going to university or working are fading fast.

    As an identical twin he has always been very aware of genetics especially as his father suffers clinical depression and his aunt schizophrenia and an uncle bipolar!!

    Your site refers to epigenics which he mentions a lot saying our genes can change and he can make his change ie he can rid himself of this mental health curse our families seem to have. If this is so then why won’t he engage in the treatment which has an absolutely proven high success rate? He has moments of insight then reverts back to the OCD and controlling his obsessions and compulsions – but it’s all inside his head except for the rare moments I can talk to him and try to get him to see there is a better way of dealing with his anxiety.

    I am wondering if I can somehow use his view in epigenics to convince him that the anxiety he feels in doing the cbt ( he hasn’t even started erp because his cbt and acceptance is not good enough yet to make it worthwhile) and being asked to think about and talk about his thoughts so the erp exercises can be designed will be worth it rid him of the distress he is living with now?

    when he is calm he accepts his logic is flawed but as he is stressing out nearly all the time I don’t get much time to talk to him calmly and reason with him. so i have to get to the point and have something very compelling to say or he thinks i am a moron and wasting his time! ( an ocd view!).

    please can you help at all?


    • Karen
      One thing to keep in mind with those suffering with OCD is they can be very stubborn, which makes sense, since they are constantly battling themselves trying to shut out a part of their thinking process. It also creates all sorts of others issues that get in the way of healing
      As with most people with OCD, your sons logic is flawed when it comes to his own problems. He may continue on this path until the obsessions completely overwhelm him and even then he may drag his feet for help.
      People with OCD are often resistant to change and when helping someone get over OCD, this resistence may need to be addressed. Could you use his logic to get him into treatment. Sure, but it will probably take more than that.
      Real changes in the mind, thinking patterns and behaviors are not consciously willed, they are processes that for the most part happen outside conscious awareness. All healing takes the cooperation of the client. He is the one in charge of his own decisions, but that doesn’t mean his decisions are useful. Fighting with his ideas has you pitting yourself against him, which isn’t going to work
      Respect his position and start from there. This is why he thinks you are a moron, because you are not willing to meet him at his place of logic.
      First ask him what timeframe he thinks he can make these changes by himself. How long is he willing to give himself before he realizes he doesn’t have all the answers? You want a specific time. Many with OCD will always have the answer around the next corner, but they never get to that place.The timeframe he gives needs to be resonable, not something like 5 years from now
      Once you have a time frame, get him to commit to going to a program and completely engaging in the process if he hasn’t solved the issue. Get the parameters of how he will know he has figured this out himself.
      His anxiety towards CBT or any other therapy comes because it is a big unknown. Logic doesn’t work because he distrusts his own thoughts and when one distrusts their own thoughts it is hard to trust the judgment of others. He is trying to make sense of himself and the world but has no real idea of where he stands within himself. His actions are typical of those with OCD

  16. My son has suddenly become obsessed with bad words and his desire to say them. Along with them are thoughts of naked private parts and other random violent things. He constantly confessed that he is thinking about these bad thoughts and sometimes likes them and sometimes doesn’t but always seems ashamed of them. He is now constantly telling me he hates me…it he’s not sure. He says these thoughts are always in his head and have been for sometime now but he’s never wanted to tell us because he’s scared to get yelled at. But once he started confessing it’s been non stop. I read online about the bad- thought OCD. Could this be the case?? Could therapy help him? I have an appointment with his pcp for a referral to a child therapist. But any advice is appreciated. Also, I have a light case of OCD… The need to check things and recheck things obsessive thoughts of leaving the stove on etc… And my mom has an undiagnosed mental illness as well. Maybe it’s in his genes?

    • OCD is a complex challenge and there are no quick and easy answers. in order for the process of OCD to be effective in disrupting someones life, the persons own values are played against them. So one of things you can be rest assured is you son does not hate you.
      Dealing with children with OCD present additional challenges. You have limited options. Not many people work with OCD in children and most still want to medicate.
      The gene issue may come into play, but being predisposed to certain genetic traits does not mean the traits have to active. It does mean these are areas of sensitivities that may need special attention or need additional changes in how one deals with life.
      It sounds like your son has a high amount of guilt for the thoughts he is having. His confessions are him trying to lessen this.
      Therapy can help, but you have fewer options dealing with children than as adults.

  17. I thought OCD could never really be stopped, that you have to be on medicationa and have therapy to control it

    • It is so easy to pigeon hole everyone with similiar conditions into the same box. When time is taken to explore what goes on underneath the rituals and obsessions, everyone does OCD differently.
      Can everyone stop their OCD without medication? Yes.
      Will everyone with OCD stop obsessing? No.
      Will changing ones way of thinking and dealing with stressful emotions take time and effort? Absolutely and the amount of time and effort it takes to release obsessive patterns varies from one person to the next. Many people want their OCD to go away, but wanting is not the same things as doing what needs to be done. Demanding something will stop is not the same things as having a willingness to change what needs to change in order to create different thinking patterns.
      Those with OCD can always change

  18. I am so glad to have found this website. For most of my life, I’ve been suffering with many symptoms of OCD; those being contamination OCD, and hoarding (it’s ironic, I know, but I don’t like to let stuff go, especially old school work paper and drawings). After starting high school, I study incessantly and work too hard to get good grades (which in the long run, is beneficial…I guess). Recently, I started getting intrusive thoughts (sacrilegious and violent), as well as the irrational fear of the number 9.
    In the past year, the contamination OCD seemed to have worsened. I disinfect the house everyday,and I avoid touching certain areas that I know people often touch. For example: I never open door handles with my hands, but with my feet (so weird, I know). When in public, I’ll use my hands, but I go to wash my them immediately. I never leave the house without a Sanitizer bottle; and I wash/sanitize my hands more than 30 times a day.
    And this will me sound terrible: I don’t like to be near people, especially my brother. Like, I actually make an attempt to avoid him. I never use the bathroom that he normally uses; I never eat the food that he eats; I disinfect everything that he touches, and I try to be as far away from him as possible. But, in truth, I love him a lot. I wish things didn’t have to be that way.
    I told my parents about the symptoms that I think I have; but they just dismiss them. My mom says that I’m making something out of nothing, and my dad says I’m obsessing over absolutely nothing. They won’t take me to therapy for diagnosis, even after I asked. All of my siblings have emotional/mental disorders, so I believe they want me be that one child who is supposedly ‘normal’. I mean, it is understandable.
    I’m kind of scared to go to college. Even if I don’t have OCD,I know whatever this problem is will interfere with my school life and relationships.

    • Rinny
      It’s not uncommon for parents to down play the syptoms of OCD until it interferes with their lives. Those who have never had OCD often believe they are any other thought and that you should easily be able to control them.
      This issue probably not going to go away on its own and you may want to see if you can find someone to work with before going to college, otherwise a lot of your energy at college is going to be diverted to trying to cope with your obsessions. Since your praents aren’t going to help, you may have to do this on your own. I know you are resourceful person and can find a way to get some help

  19. What do you think about pure o sufferers? some articles say that pure o is friction and don’t excist. Pure o is a state of GAD. If the GAD is treated that pure o thoughts will disappear . Most people with pure o have harm thoughts which make people makes anxious and depressed. What do you think about pure o. My pure o came after a panic attack and stressful period. My psychiatrist would put me on SSRI but i became very ill of it. How is Pure o treated ? CBT , ERP. Once i came on a website the LINDEN METHOD. There they say Pure o or OCD don’t excist , it’s a state of high anxiety. If the anxiety is gone the OCD and pure o are also gone.
    What do you think ?

    • Rudi
      First thing to remember is terms such as “Pure O, OCD, GAD, anxiety, etc” are internal processes people experience and every person experiences them with their own unique twist. They are not things. Yes there are certain brain scans or tests that can register parts of the body during these processes, but they cannot register the experience the person is having. If we call something OCD or Pure O or high anxiety, it does not change the experience the person is having. So we are talking semantics
      Do people suffer from repetitive or consistant disturnbing thoughts for long periods of time with out any associated compulsions. Absolutely. Happens all the time and it is not just limited to hurting people, sex or offending God. There is no topic the mind cannot obsess about and over the years in working with people I have heard such a wide variety of topics, that nothing surprises me anymore.

      In order for the mind to obsess, numerous things have to be in place, all of them contributing to some non supportive perspective or feeling the person experiences, consciously or subconsciously. This is why there are so many theories about what causes obsessions and how to treat it.
      In helping clients, the label is not very important, since they are overused, misused, misunderstood and tell you very little about the process the person is going though. OCD and anxiety are emotionally driven processes that can overwhelm a persons mental processes. Yes you need to work on the mental aspect, but you must include somehow dealing with the emotional properties the person experiences.
      This is difficult to do by oneself and working with a professional is recommended

  20. Anita Fazakas

    Hi, What if I feel I have fear of my own imagination? Is that pure OCD? During my pregnancy I imagined something what was not aligned with me (knife in my belly) and I became scared of my own imagination as before I have never imagined anything horrible or cruel especially not just because and not connected with people I love. Since then I am shocked by this, and imagine many horrible pictures connected my family and I don’t understand why I do this and I feel guilty to have these images. Before all my images were positive connected to other people and neutral with sharp things, such as knife etc. They were on the table and I used them for cooking when needed. Before I was never afraid of using my imagination, I used it for creating positive results, wishing health to others, decorating the house, creating ways to reach my goals etc. Please advise me, is this pure OCD and is it treatable? Is it possible to become friend again with my imagination and myself? I also developed serious sleep problems which is extremly difficult to treat during pregnancy. Do you think it is related to this problem that I feel not myself? Thank you very much for your advise.

    • From your description it hard to tell whether or not you are dealing with just OCD. Now the mind can fear pretty much anything and it can also make anything irrational, given the right circumstances. I can’t tell from your write up if you are just fearing the thoughts you are having or actually generalized this to fear your imagination. OCD is always an illusion, so the thoughts you dislike are a distraction from other stresses. You already know you can think differently, you have done it for years, now it is just a matter of finding out how to get you to change your thoughts. If you are not having urges to do any actions and you are obsessing, you probably have pure O.
      The sleep issues may be part of the symptoms or the problem, but you really need to get help. OCD is a complex challenge. Simple answers are not going to change anything. Find a health professional in your area. If you can’t find anyone, we do phone consultations

      • You don’t remove OCD. It is a process your nervous system is producing. Processes do not get fixed, but they can change and be altered. OCD is a complex challenge that cannot be solved with black and white ideas of turning it off or removal. I understand not wanting to use medication, it is not the long term answer to any complex issues. Your ideas of trying to push through this and beat it may work in some parts of your life, but will not help you alter how you relate to persistent pain or adversity. This is one of the great challenges with those with OCD, they keep trying to use the approches they understand, yet what they understand and are comfortable with keeps them stuck
        In my experience in working with people with OCD, change is seldom easy. Real change means being different, different then how you think things should be or should work, different then how the person expects change to come and how they will feel when the change occurs. It is not just about understanding things better or trying harder. If that worked, everyone would overcome OCD.

  21. Sir,
    Of all articles I have come across while researching regarding OCD and mostly scrupulosity, I admit, your article is on the top of the list of usefulness. Its been more than 10 years since OCD started its black magic on me and I allowed it to bully me and get things done. Well, as the other millions doing this, I am now desperately overwhelmed by a form of OCD ie scrupulosity. I know whatever I will say would have been heard by you from many considering your extensive experience in treating the patients. What started as rituals turned into mental obsessions relating to religious stuffs. Funny thing is that I do not believe in God but OCD doesnt work in accordance with my logic. The way I have succeeded in handling myself in most of the cases up to now, was to give up reasoning with my mind. I have learned it in a bitter way that minds under influence of OCD will NEVER accept reasoning. It may stick for a few moment and then Bang! Reasoning is futile and paralyzing. Problem is that OCD appears it self to be so real, genuine and important and claims to save us from eternal doom that we cannot resist getting trapped. It is really weird bio-chemistry where OCD just shoots up enormous amount of trigger and then we get trapped by reasoning and Bang! We fail, like always. In my case, religion has courted OCD and both have created a situation where there is no escape. Story is like I promised (I did not promise but you know, OCD) to visit temple before leaving India to go to Riyadh for work but I willingly did not do it as I told you I am not religious. It was OK when I reached here in Riyadh but just out of the blue this thought came that I cheated and offended God and now my complete life will be doomed. Now, I cannot even go back to India and visit a temple as according to the OCD terms and condition I was supposed to visit it before leaving India and now even if I visit, it wont count. And when I say I give a damn about religion and temples, the OCD cleverly ask me, Why the heck then you made the promise when you don’t believe? Now I have no idea why I made (I did not make) but how can I answer this? No matter what answer I give there is a counter answer from a grinning irritating OCD, saying, “I got you! F**kr”!”Now how am I able to answer it? Even now if I get a chance to go visit the temple, I wont do that as I have no faith in all that. But OCD will just trigger bad emotions in me and I feel as shit.
    Well, as I said, whenever I got out of OCD, the method was to give a damn about every thing and parallely focus on some real life work. But here I am getting very much disturbed. My parents and siblings are asking me to come to India and see a psychiatrist but what I think is that until I am willing to accept anything, what help will the psychiatrist do? Its not some ERP or CBT case. And what I feel is that whatever the psychiatrist will say, it will be ultimately to stop valuing the thought and start engaging in other activities. I know this already and it have helped me every time to get out. But this time I am caught up badly. Please help me out sir, if desperation is real than that’s my situation now. Please.

    • Techniques and tricks we use to calm the mind work as long as they do. If we are lucky we can get a nice run of having a technique that will give us some ability to get through life. The problem is when they stop working or the pressures and stresses in life overwhelm the limitations of the techniques and approaches we use. Unfortunately these never address the root causes of the obsessions, which is a tangled and complex web of emotions and thought processes.
      I wish there was something I could tell you that would help you get through your current place, but at best I would be giving you another technique and more than likely that technique would be rejected by your thought processes.
      Working with OCD often works best with multiple approaches.Since you are not religious, I suspect part of your problem is you have issues with guilt, but then I am only guessing. Tyring overcome OCD on your own typically is challenging. Find someone to work with and don’t expect this to resolve overnight.

    • Atul Kumar

      Same case with Me as Nishant you have though my obsession is different. I have wasted my life and lost My dad, career and love of my life due to this demon

  22. I have panic attacks and ocd and lately my ocd has gotten out of control where it makes me scared of everything and that everyrhing will hurt me I know I sound crazy but I started thinking that breathing can hurt me and it started happening and im scared eating will hurt me and so dont eat certian foods I keep fighting those thoughts to stay out of my head and I cant stop them so they bring on my anxiety and I get really scared do you know what I can do to stop the thoughts and know im ok thank you

    • Ann
      If you have read any of the posts, there are no easy answers for overcoming obsessions. Trying to stop them on your own tends to become an exercise in futility for most people. Find a professional to work with. There is no one method that works for everyone, but it can be overcome. Just don’t look for a magic bullet that will stop your thought process, because it will take some effort on your part

  23. I have been struggling with OCD for 8 years, but just recently diagnosed and seeing a therapist who focuses on ERP. I have mostly harm obsessions but if course that has changed many times over the years, from obsessing over hating Christmas, questioning my sexuality, thinking I could become possessed, questioning my religion, thinking I had Scizophrenia, thinking I could become a murder or hurt someone I love. As you can see the obsess ions change quite a bit. They hurt so much like your own brain is working against you, it really can make you feel insecure and doubt yourself not to mention the incredible doubt and hatred you can feel towards yourself. I have been trying to deal with guilt of my thoughts even questioning whether or not I should ever have kids because I would hate for my obsessions to turn into something against my own children. That’s the thing ocd tends to target the things you love and value most in this world it is the complete opisit of what my character actually is a sweet, caring person who would do anything for her friends and family. I have come along way from balling my eyes out everyday and almost quitting my job to finally agreeing to take Meds which is helping by the way. I am greatful for what I have learned it is not easy it is the hardest journey of my life having to fight everyday and wake up and make a decision that OCD will not run my life today. Sometimes i feel like I wouldn’t know the kind of compassion and patience for things if it weren’t for OCD. Don’t get me wrong I would give my left arm if someone told me they could make it go away tomorrow, but obviously that won’t happen so we have to deal with the cards we are dealt for all the OCD sufferers out there I just want you to know you are not alone and you are incredibly brave and strong believe me it takes an incredible person to go through the day with the types of challenges ocd suffered face. I do have a question dr. Micheal I am still struggling with doubt I understand what OCD is and that my thoughts are because of OCD yet I still doubt myself it’s likke you know exactly what is going on but your brain is not registering. Any advice?

    • Kati
      Doubt tends to be more of an emotional response, not intellect. That is the problem many OCD approaches, everything focuses on knowledge and that is how many people look at OCD, as a mental problem, a brain issue.
      However OCD is a full neurological condition, it is your emotional self pitted against other emotions or thought processed.
      The problem with many suffering with OCD is that they live in their head as much as possible because they don’t trust their emotional responses. Thus they can have difficulty actually accessing their emotions in a useful way to work on them. They are comfortable in analysis, but they are not connecting their intellect to their emotions. So they know what they should do, but always feel like they have to do something else
      OCD is a complex challenge and what holds it together and how it affects the person is different with each person. There are many layers holding it in place. In therapy you will want the emotional issues you deal with (like doubt) to be addressed.
      Doubt BTW is not uncommon in those with OCD. You can’t trust your thought processes, you don’t know how to effectively address and resolve them and you feel out of control. That is a great environment for doubt

  24. Cole Thompson

    2 days ago, after staying up all night and doing a drug, I noticed I was repeating stuff. And I came to the conclusion I was in a thought loop, trying to understand. I came to the same conclusions on what was happening over and over. And I try to believe in this conclusion, but I am come obsessed with the idea that I can’t overcome my new found OCD by seeing how long I have repeated this thought of understanding why I am repeating. I keep thinking through it.. over and over. It’s my irrational obsession to believe in my understanding of irrational obsession. It’s so odd to me, so fucking crazy that I just need to resolve it. Or I think I need to resolve it. I have never had anything like this, or any thing like OCD happen. And after constantly trying to think my way out it, I get scared by the fact that I am still thinking about it. Then the cycle reverts to the beginning, where did this idea come from. I have tried emotionally pushing myself away from this, and I am just always reluctance in my subconscious. I talk to my family, and all it does is lead to me repeating to them what I have been this whole time in my head. One more thing I always try is to meditate, and understand what just being is and not analyze some made up loop. So I focus on that, and whenever I think I am getting somewhere, thinking I am out of this cause my brain got away from it, it only reminds me. I know i need to really believe that this doesn’t exist, but all my attempts to get out of it, only prove to me that it is real. It has only been a few days sense the thought of it occured, and I stayed up for a really long time cause it kept me from sleeping. Eventually last night I feel asleep, and I thought when I woke up, i could rationalize this repeat of rationalizing. Yet the second I woke up, I thought, “am I done with this paradox of thought?” And it only reminded me of it. I am beginning to think I am insane.. I am so trapped.. that the idea always pops up that this will never end. Please… help me. OH, and I am 14 years old.

    • Cole
      The ability to obsess or get stuck on an undesired thought is someone everyone does, it is just a matter for how long and how intense. This just started and I know it is so different from what normally goes on in your head it feels overwhelming, But, just relax for a moment.
      While the drugs may have triggered these redundant ideas, my guess is you have some other stresses going on in your life, whether it is at home or in school. If that is the case, see if you can get these resolved and it may very well ease your situation.
      If this continues for a few months, you may need want to seek some professional assistence. but i will warn you, there is a 99% chance all they will do is put you on meds.

  25. Sometimes my OCD is when I’m drawing when i can get something on the dot i just keep retrying but it makes it look worse so then i have to start over and my mind will keep doing and sometimes i lose control of me when is happens

    any tips

    • OCD is a complex challenge. You are looking for a magic bullet, that one trick that will make life OK again. Instead of trying to out trick your obsession, work with a professional who can help you sort this out. Dots and drawings are not the problem here. How you deal with your emotions and thoughts are and luckily this can be changed, if you are willing to put in the effort

  26. Dr michael,
    Hello, i’d like to ask you a few things regarding my ocd and would love for you to help me as i do not have the means to get treatment.. I’ve been looking for qualified doctors online when i came across your article. I sufferr from pure o ocd, it’s been a few months now, i keep getting those questions in my head of whether i was sexually abused as a child.. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking of scenarios to try to find the one that actually happened so i eventually “found the one” and ever since ive been analysing it.. When i think abou it i dont really know who did it and the environment in which it happened is different from the one i had before.. The room to be specific. I dont know i just dony completely connect with it and dont feel abused at all i just keep doubting it and whenever i tell myself that it’s not my ocd i think well you dont want to live a lie? Do you? And say well maybeit might have… It’s an endless cycle. I’ve tried erp but like how do i really apply erp in my case? Should i allow myself to have these thoughts and and define them as doubts and thoughts only or do i have to pretend it happened and just accept it?
    I’d love it ifyou could help my sir.

    • Jane
      I don’t know whether or not you were abused as a child or whether this is something you mind is making up. If these thoughts are just your obsessions, then trying any techniques directly towards these thoughts will probably fail
      Understand that obsessions are illusions the mind produces to avoid other deeper issues that are not resolved in the person. It is a complex challenge that does not always have easy answers, making it very difficult to figure out. Remember the same brain that is producing these thoughts is the one trying to fix it, which is like the fox guarding the chicken house. That causes an internal environment of self doubt, making it even more difficult to accept ones own thoughts an ideas.
      This is why working with outside help is always preferred. Find someone within your budget, that understands the OCD and that can help you get our of your own thought process and help you find more effective ways of processing your thoughts and emotions. That is a tall order to try and do on your own

  27. Hello there… I am in a big mess in my life and trying to find an answer. What i am feeling is being overwhelmed by thoughts that stress me the most. 2 days now i feel like a living zombie, i feel like a slave to my thoughts and that everything will last forever. To begin with, starting from 14 (im 22 now) i had some constant thoughts about whether i was gay or not. Before them i was sure i liked girls but then the tjoughts came. I was thinking about it everyday , and although the patterns of thinking kept changing, the thoughts just kept coming and coming, making me more and more disabled and anxious. Then, last year i read an article about HOCD and i thought that was it. And the problem solved even with just realising that my doubts and thoughts were part of a neurological process and were indeed unreal. Then came fear of disease, multiple sclerosis which a psychiatrist i was seeing every now and then said was again ocd and after realising that i could ‘master” my thoughts in a day or two (just realising it’s not me but something in my mind gave me enough strength to beat it). However, the last 2-3 months i am having some new issues. I am getting very anxious when one specific person says something, when she laughs , when she just sends me a message. It started slowly and with time i have connected everything about her with stress. And now, the last week i have been dating a girl and i have constantly in my mind the idea that i will destroy this relationship because i am stressed. And this makes me more stressed and a vicious cycle is happening. It came even stronger when a psychiatrist i visited 3 days before told me that all this is not ocd but some general insecurities like eceryone else’s. In my mind, thinking that this is all because of OCD helped me rationalize with the thoughts some times. And what he told me, put me in a big difficult stressful situation with which i try (ineffectively) to cope every single second. I am very scared anf worries and dont know what to do…

    • Michael
      OCD is a complex issue and using will power or having certain understanding and insights will help where they do. Unfortunately this does not work everywhere. Do you have insecurities, probably. Are they the complete reason your mind is working against you. Probably not.
      You have been lucky that you have been able to get yourself out of this, but you have been dealing with this for a long time and since this has been a reoccuring issue in your life, you probably want to find some better ways of dealing with stress, differences, things you are uncertain about and life surprises.
      You only have a few options. One take meds. Two, hope the stresses in your life go away and that you can regain the illusion of being in control or (3) work with someone who can help you get to the real issues that create the shaky ground your standing on. With all of these you will need to take care of your self, eat right and do everything else that will make your life work
      Seeking help once in a while is not going to cut it. You are not like your car that needs a tune up once in a while, you are a person that has to work on changing how you process your thoughts and feelings and this is going to take a commitment on your part to become more effective at how you live life. That does not need to scare you and it doesn’t mean you are broken, it only means you need to be willing to change, not just where you want to but really change areas in yourself that need to be addressed

  28. Dear Michael,
    I have a problem with repeating the last 4-5 words the thought ended in. For example I walk around saying “the thoughts ended in, the thoughts ended in, the thoughts ended in”. I catch myself doing this constantly. It is very noticeable in the morning when I just wake up. This goes on all day and is clouding my thinking and getting concerning. Sometimes it is numbers like counting to 5. It is exhausting. Is this OCD?

    • Well I am not make a diagnosis based on this info, but it most certainly sounds like as if you are having some issues that are troubling you. While it is easy to say this is probably OCD, you should always go to your local health provider and get an official diagnosis. Realize though, there may be other issues at and no matter what the diagnosis, you don’t have to by into it. These are just labels health professionals use, they are not a disease you have, rather processes that you can work on and change

  29. Dear Michael,

    I relate to this post a lot. It started around 9 months ago. When it first started i thought i was going insane. The simplest thought like ‘the fear of being outside’ or ‘the fear of supermarkets’ have been lurking everywhere i go. I know the fear is just the thoughts themselves, however its just annoying just to think about this and then catch myself in a loop saying maybe next time. I hear stories of people being socially anxious which also frightens me. From a young age ive always been social and confident when approaching people, however like before the simplest thoughts get complicated and i wonder what if i lose myself? Not in an ego sense, but becoming afraid to socialize even if that sounds bizarre. I have these thoughts then i actually socialize with people and then go home and repeat the loop.

    If im honest, i want things to change. I acknowledge that situation and and things i have to do change it as i am willing to. However, in the past, ive tried so many ways watching youtube videos telling theyre just thoughts and how to approach them but it just didnt do it. And every time i read articles like this or watch videos i just have the thought that this isnt going to work.

    Is a therapist necessary? Ive heard so many people say be your own therapist which im willing to do, i know the end result would benefit me not just be living a ‘normal’ life, but also becoming wiser in some way.

    Any advice would be really appreciated


    • Also i just want add that I dont have thes fears, but thinking i do stresses me out as i feel like im too smart to be stuck in a thought process like this

    • Vince
      It is understandable to want to work through ones own issues and often this is exactly what you should try. But when one doubts themselves, their own judgment or capabilities, how can you make changes in yourself with the same brain that is holding you down.
      This is why a therapist (a good one) can help, because they are not bound by the limits of your thinking or emotional processes. They will guide the parts of your thoughts and emotions to different places, ones they would never go to on their own, so that you can begin seeing and feeling things differently.
      After all, how many videos or books or websites are you going to engage with before you realize information is only as good as you can use it, and you may have noticed, your mind is not using all its data effectively.
      So seek a therapist and if the first one doesn’t do it for you, try another.

  30. Hello Michael,

    How do you suggest people with OCD to “unstick” their thoughts? For example, if they find themselves obsessing over something and wanting to do their “ritual” to neutralize the thought, how would you suggest they “unstick” the thought so they don’t have to perform the ritual? I’ve had OCD since the time it was young. I’ve had (and continue to have) many different types of obsessions. New ones even sprout up every once in a while and I am able to conquer them. The one currently holding me back I’ve had for about a year. The one I currently have I do not feel comfortable disclosing on the Internet, but my obsession sprouts up when I go to purchase something. I can’t buy anything. I go without buying myself new clothes, etc. because every time I go to buy it, that obsession pops into my brain, I panic, and either I put the item back on the shelf or if I end up buying it, I convince myself to return it. I guess my fear is that whatever I’m afraid of will “stick” to the thing I purchased. As in, whenever I go to use the item, that bad or scary thought comes up, and I don’t want to be reminded of it every time I use it, so I just figure the solution to that is just to return the item. As you can tell this is a debilitating obsession I have and I just wish I could “unstick” my obsession from whatever I am buying so I can purchase it and enjoy it and not worry that whenever I go to use it that a bad thought will pop up in my head! I know that the goal of ERP Therapy is to make people face their fears. And I know that a therapist (correct me if I am wrong) will essentially tell me to buy the item anyway, even if the bad thought pops up, just buy it and keep it and that eventually the anxiety associated with it will subside. Is that true? Will the anxiety subside?

    Also, I read that you don’t encourage people to read into and get more knowledge about their fears and that you don’t think it will help them recover or get over their obsessions. I realize that OCD is an emotional issue, but I have personally found that educating myself on things I am fearful of has helped. If I am fearful of the number 29 (which I am) I realize that no amount of education can help me get over it. It’s a pretty irrational fear. But educating yourself on a fear of.. contracting Ebola for example, can be helpful. Because once the person realizes the unlikeliness of contracting it the USA, then it calms them down a bit and perhaps they can get to a level where their emotions can be managed. I just feel that some fears, rational ones specifically, can be worked out with a bit of education. Most things people fear are due to a lack of knowledge.

    Also, your website says that you’re a hynotherapist? What is that exactly?

    If you could respond, that would be great. Thank you.

    • KIm
      You bring up a lot of points and questions that could take a book to answer effectively. So I will do my best to give you a birds eye perspective.
      Typically when people try to unstick or neutralize their thoughts, they are looking for a technique. The problem with OCD it is techinques only work for a little while and they don’t address the multiple sensitivites and underlining concerns driving the obsessions. They do not address how the person relates to their own emotions and thought processes other than to disrupt them. When that happens, the results tend to be temporary. So they keep coming back or change into something else. To really address OCD, numerous approaches need to be addressed and changed so the person can process their thoughts and emotions more effectively and this takes some work
      Facing fears can work in certain situations, but can also fall short if other issues are contributing to the fears
      Being educated is typically a good thing, but as you have experienced, it has not helped stop your obsessions, it only allows you to move on to the next one. Everyone is different so there is no approach or statement that fits every person, but the majority of people suffering from OCD get locked into a research frame of mind and reseach on its own does not create change in a person unless the data is the sole missing link and typically that is seldom the case.
      A hypnotist is one who incorporates hypnotherapy. Now most people with OCD already exhibit the trance like symptoms when their obsessions are raging and getting them into another trance can be quite difficult. However the principles of hyponosis are very useful in helping someone make changes in themselves to process the world differently

  31. ey I have a question as well. I have battled ocd for 6 years now and I understand completely that it changes from one to another. The cycle is violent. I might take therapy soon for it. But i noticed at night my ocd is ten times worse and I can’t take it anymore…I know that there is no specific way to overcome n because you have to address the issue first but what if you know what the issue is you just don’t no the correct way to address it because I know what it is and I know where it comes from and I know the truth but I still sit there and obsess over it so I just was curious if you know a couple things that may help in the moment because every night before I go to bed I have the same thought and I think that thought a certain way so that I can go to sleep in peace and it makes me have a good day the next day but I do a certain ritual while thinking about that saw it and at night when you’re trying to relax and go to bed and you’re staying awake for another half hour just to please the ritual it can get quite frustrating…what makes it all ten times worse as even as I’m writing this I’m sitting here trying to prepare myself for how I have to take my pills in a few minutes and I have to think that thought I want to be able to do it and not have to think that I saw it but I’m just not quite sure on what to tell myself or what to do after I take them if that makes any sense for example : would it help to take them and then say out loud something like I don’t need to think that I know the truth and then just walk away from it…. I’m just kind of at a loss on how to ignore the ritual more so than the idea that bothers me

    • Most people experience a spike in their obsessions when they have some time, when their mind is not distracted with work/play, etc. However the mind of most people dealing obsessions will also ramp down when they go to sleep. Unfortunately this is not the case with you.
      If you think you know what the core issues are, why have you not sought some professional help. Doing it on your own is not working.
      You try to ignore you obsessions, but obsessions do not like to be ignored, in fact it often makes them stronger. OCD does not listen well to logic, at least not most of the time. OCD is also a complex challenge that usually has numerous layers needing attention. This makes simple tricks or techniques fairly useless.
      Find someone you can work with. Stop torturing yourself by being inattentive to your real needs, that something in how you are holding your own thoughts and emotions needs to change. Trying to change yourself with the same thought processes creating your problems is a difficult obstacle to navigate on your own

  32. dear michael,I’m 50 yrs old and have suffered from ocd my whole life, I’m a thinker “obsessive recurring obtrusive thoughts” I first noticed my ocd symptoms all the way back to age 12 and all through my teens as they gradually got worse, fast forward though my 20’s and several stints of depressions unemployment etc my ocd finally became full-blown and would not leave if you will when i turned 30 which is when I committed myself to a mental ward for further evaluation I thought I was bipolar due to How can one go from being the top sales agent in the nation to being intimidated to going to pay the gas attended 5 dollars for gas, but I got lucky and was properly diagnosed with ocd back in 1993 and after trial and tribulation discovered luvox and until now it has been a life saver (allows me to be high functioning in many ways)I’m a successful business owner of 15 yrs and do well financially and must say I’m very analytical and quite the problem solver in the real world lets call it “beyond logical” but not with this intolerant disease my thought though controlled all cycle around the way the body works: mind, heart, brain where things stop and start, accounting for things such as vision etc which brings me to my current dilemma which is my 2nd stint with said problem a problem I solved 17 yrs earlier even though it lasted back then every bit of 3 yrs now it resurfaced again back in 2010 to current 4 yrs 5 months and counting even though I spend everyday all day to solve this issue I cannot …I will try to put into the words the best I can so you can understand the issue a preface it’s trying to account for something and as analytically logical as i am I don’t know why more people have never thought of this here goes…I can’t stop thinking about hair color and how we can just dismiss whether it be black or blond this comes down to “self awareness”when we think of ourselves our image in the mirror we see our face which is a color/call it pigment and then our eyes/blue both in which we feel and then theres are hair/blond which we don’t feel so if we look away from the mirror we don’t feel our hair but feel our face which we don’t feel the color we just feel it being there but when I think of my hair I know its blond so i go from just feeling my face to having to account for the color of my hair ( and believe me I’ve been through the gambit of scenarios “thousands” I know we can’t feel color as I tell myself this 100’s of times a day)and I just can’t dismiss the fact that it is a different contradicting color as opposed to my skin ….so I go around all day having to account for my hair and its at the point where I automatically give feeling to it, so relaxing is impossible I have to account for my hair knowing when one thinks of themselves they process that they don’t feel their hair just their face and move on but I have to account for the hair / and I know I can’t feel it and I know how the mind processes it just like when you look at your clothes and they’re a certain color and then when you look away you just feel them and not the color and I apply this princple to my hair and my brain just won’t believe it…..sorry for the long winded description and I hope this gets posted but if not I hope to hear a reply and by the way not that it matters but my iq is 157 ……… sincerest thanks mark

  33. Hi. I’m a 25 yrs old female from india. My name is namrata and I’m in complete distress. A psychologist diagnosed me with pure o ocd a few days ago. My ocd is killing me. It is of a strange kind. It involves me doubting my math. The whole of it. My brain has associated doubt even with elementary operations like plus minus. It’s not like I don’t remember my math. But my brain puts a question mark on my memory and asks, ” what if your memory is showing you knowledge of math that is different from that of the world”. It started four years ago when I was studying msc. I was hoping to be a scientist and became excessively scrupulous. During this time I forgot a simple formula only for a minute. I remembered it the next minute. But I became distressed and thought that if I have to become a scientist I can’t afford such misses. I revised the formula several times in my head. By the sixth time of revision, my brain associated inconfidence with the memory of the formula instead of confidence. I went berserk. The same thing happened with another formula. And now when I recalled these formulae I experienced doubt instead of confidence. It made me overly anxious and depressed and I dropped out. After that I got caught in many personal issues and didn’t do any math. Although my ocd had begun it was only with respect to few formulas and I experienced no distress. Last year however, after a hurtful ditching by a guy I loved madly, I started studying math again, but the doubt started happening again in the same manner. Two weeks ago I decided to get rid of the doubt completely by using logic and forcing myself to be confident. But the ocd fought back and created a situation like a doubt storm. During this situation, I once again tried to get over it by reasoning like, ” oh c’mon I know my math. I mean I do plus minus and all properly lol” and then it happened. Somehow elementary operations got linked with doubt. I went mad after that. By brain convinced me that my math is wrong since I don’t feel confidence that I used to feel before. When I fought with mental compulsions I was able to maintain some insight. When I tried to accept the doubt I lost my insight and convinced myself that im unintelligent. Every morning I become suicidal. My self esteem is zero. And I feel like a lesser human. What is happening to me.

    • OCD is not always easy to comprehend. Since you doubt many things, even explanations for how your emotions and thoughts are not supporting you can be difficult to believe. There are many theories as to why OCD exists, but none of these explanations are likely to satisfy you. You therapist probably already gave you an explanation. See it is not you ability to understand things, it is the feeling of doubt that trouble you. It is the emotional aspect behind you thinking that makes you feel like there is something wrong.
      No one does OCD the same way. You want to find someone to work with that can help you make changes in these emotions so you can regain your confidence

  34. I have reapeated word in my head that i dont like, it does not worry me, once in a while stresses me out a bit, i could sometimes control it when the activity triggers it, but what does this mean

    • AK, there is very little data here to make any sort of analysis. If this doesn’t bother you, then it is no big deal. If it does or if it gets worse, you should go to a local health professional who can do a proper diagnosis

  35. Writing something new is one of my many dreams.i think i have the ability.i used to think on a plot for a long time and when i discovered the plot to be discovered long ago i became depressed and tried harder.then i lost control over my thinking.i am taking setra and xolam for three months but nothing changed.what should i do?i am from bangladesh and 15years old

    • There are not many real original stories. Some writting experts say there are only 7 or so plots that are just retold in numerous ways. Instead of trying to write something new, write something about you, something you would be interested in from your unique perspective. That is what makes a story fresh, is from what perspective it is told, on what details does the story focus on. You have a story and the challenge is how do you tell that story in a meaningful and interesting way. Forget about new, it doesn’t really exist

  36. I think I have OCD, it’s growing day by day, at this point my only comfort place is my bed, and my chair after I wash it, I’m stressed about this, I have to wash hands and legs with soap every time I leave my bed to go outside or any other room and I have to bath in the evening and after that I just stay in my bed and I have to keep cleaning mobile with water after charging and have to clean after seeing some picture or something that I don’t like to see, there are things that I don’t like to touch or watch, things like torn paper or paper packets or cartons laels, cards, plastic packets of tobacco, etc, those things disgusts me I don’t know why, at this point I don’t like to see those things in my mobile, and I don’t want anyone or anyone’s thing or clothes to touch me, I have to bath me if someone or something touch me, I like little children and I used to hold little babies so much but now I can’t, I don’t want anything to touch me, and if some flies or some things fall on my bed or cloth I have to wash them and now a days its not just the but also in the same room or being inn the sight also discomforts me, having to watch those things also discomforts me..can you please tell me if these are symptoms of OCD and what should I do to stop this?

    • Yes – your obsessions revolve around contamination. These can be or become severe and you will want to work with a therapist. Exposure response treatment is a good place to start for these types of OCD

  37. There is one single, non-medical treatment for ocd…SURRENDER. did you choose to have ocd/ fear/ guilt or was it just something that took you over? Obviously, something that took you over. That means there is some energy/ power / God out there who gave this to you, for reasons unknown to you. So SURRENDER to that power. SHIFT your guilt to that power. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT. That power has not told you what to do with this. Any negative thing that happens as a fallout of this, is NOT YOUR FAULT.

    • Acceptance and surrender can be important aspects of working through the OCD process. However, for most people these are just words, ones vaguely defined and thus what, where and how to surrender become exercises in futility. OCD is also a complex challenge, having many parts holding it together and part it is a relationship issue you hold to and with yourself and different sides of yourself. No one gives you OCD, but many are born with dynamic sensitivities that make the ability to process thoughts or emotions less effective. Just surrendering to that may work for some, but most will need additional help

  38. Guys,

    I think I found something… I am not sure yet… I noticed that if I don’t push my mind to the extreme, my symptomes are low.

    Example: I worm in IT, when there is a bug unresoved in a company, I just can’t stop thinking of it; I finally get it and receive thanks.

    Bit I also do that for all the stuff in my life… when I get in the mode of full disconnection for too ma y hours I stop myself(its really hard but I do it) than whe I qhit work and come home I don’t compulse…

    I have to continue testing(yhea testing againt) that and see

    • There are no words to make up or magically heal tragic life situations. None supportive families can be difficult for anyone, especially those who are sensitive or deal with handicaps. It is hard to feel comfortable in life or get a sense of self when everything is viewed as wrong, no matter how hard you try and then you have learned to feel guilty about things you have little control over. Without some level of self trust it is difficult to move forward. Finding a non=critical group to interact with, that could be supportive, along with therapy is one approach to start talking small steps towards change

  39. Dear Michael,

    You stated lotsa apt facts and info on ocd. and I believe you to be a very good therapist (but too bad i m in another partbofvthe world)I have been suffering from contamination for around 10 years. Life was and is much distorted- each move is a risk for me where I never know what kind of contamination I may face. I am such a weirdo in the eyes of everybody. ocd had deprived me from life’s pleasure and enjoyment. I am being prescribed with ssri but am not taking them as i do not think it’s the ultimate thing that will work on me. I had tried ERP but stopped half way due to some logistic issue- and also the worry that the therapy will eventually need me to do tjings which i dun want to. I had tried hypnotherapy which i stopped after few sessions as I am unsure how many sessions it take for things to get better- i do not want to spend much money with no results, also because i have the resistance in the bottom of my heart to go into trance, fearing to see things i dun want to know.
    I am able to identify the stressor event which triggered ocd. is there any self-help methods/quote for reminder that u can kindly advise? i actually feel i can never recover and that ocd will remain to be part of me for the rest of my life which is quite saddening. but, i am aware of the fact: how can i recover if i m hostile to all ideas of treatment? wish it had never happened to me…

    • Recognize the process of long term obsessions is a complex problem. Even if you know the root cause, it is not typically eliminating this cause that would make obsessing subside or stop. There are many aspect that keep the process going and it is somewhat different for each person. I would love to tell you here are the 5 simple steps you need to do to regain control of your thoughts and emotions, but it is not the way it works
      Many with OCD are expecting the therapist to fix them. You are not broken, but you do have ineffective relationships between your thoughts and feelings. People with OCD also have issues of self trust (after all, how much do you trust the obsessive thoughts) so it may take time for the therapist to gain the trust at deeper levels for effective work to be done.
      People with OCD very often tend to be impatient, which means unless they are committed to spending time with someone, they get uncomfortable and move on.
      I wish I could give you easy answers, but it does not work that way. Trying to change aspects of yourself that you probably have been trying to silence, for years on end, means working with some one is probably a better way to go. I understand wanting certainty in outcome, but the ownership of change falls more on the client than therapist/. They are there to guide and facilitate change, to force it to happen

      • Those suffering with OCD already access a deep hypnotic state when their obsessions are peaking. Hypnosis can work with some clients, but it is usually only part of the process and not in standard hypnotic sessions. The principles of hypnosis though can be accessed in numerous ways, again depending how deep of a hypnotic state the client goes into

  40. Hannah lavarco

    I️ am 21 with two kids and recently I’ve been havring sexual intrusive thoughts about them I️ know I️ would never act on them because they really disturb me but I️ can’t stop please help me it’s making me want to kill myself

    • Sounds like an obsession. Sexually thoughts of family members that you know you will never act on and that are repulsive are not uncommon. If you are unsure, see a health professional in your area to get a proper diagnosis. If this is OCD, the good news is you can rest assured you will not act out on it. That being said, it does not make these thoughts feel any better and if they persist, you will want to seek some form of treatment

  41. Hello Michael. My son had been having obsessive suicidal thoughts. A psychiatrist medicated him, and 17 days after starting on meds he has no longer any suicidal thoughts.
    The problem is they have been substituted by OCD numeric obsession and an OCD trance state, where he can stay for over an hour. During this “trance” state, he doesn’t answer people. Of course this has taken a toll on both his social life and his academic performance.
    What can I do to help him? I feel so sad…

    • Laura
      Sorry to hear about the situation with your son. There is not a whole lot of information to work with here
      Numerous dynamics might be at play here. One is the dosage of his medication may be contributing to his deep trance state. I would check with his psychiatrist on this
      The problem with medication is they only mask the symptoms, nothing else at the core level has changed in how your son processes his emotions. Those suffering with the process of OCD often substitute one obsession or compulsion with another.
      As a mother you want to help, it is hard to sit by and watch a family member be in this type of situation, but realize your input will be limited to finding him treatment that is effective. While there may be ways to interact with him differently, there is no one size fits all approach, thus without any further info, any input give may be just as damaging as it is helpful

  42. How can I help my son. His OCD consists of a “trance” like state, looking at nothing, losing touch with everything and everyone around him. He is already on zyprexa and valproic acid.
    I know not what to do…how to help him…

    • Laura
      I cannot give information on medications your psychiatrist may have prescribed. There is a reason he chose these and I do not know that reason

  43. I struggle with Pure O at times. I had it for the the first time of summer 2017, before that I had just generalised anxiety disorder. As I learned to get past that with self help, this condition jumped into my life very suddenly.

    The first trigger was when someone asked me “what keeps you from not acting on thoughts of self harm or death”. And I struggled to respond at first because I never really thought about it. I panicked rather than realising the truth was simply that I did not want to be hurt or die. It was from that moment I sank into existential depression for a month, stuck on these thoughts, before they shifted.

    Ever since I had multiple spikes of thoughts which became troubling. Usually philosophical obsessions and existential obsessions, which I get struck on until I formulate reasoning around them. It is often accompanied by fear of going mad, or delusion. On the bright side I have came to some wonderful insights on very deep philosophical topics and have helped others overcome existential fears and doubts.

    I realised it was not my thoughts that were wrong,but my reaction to these thoughts and ideas.

    Now and again I’d get bodily obsessions, become aware of certain functions that are usually subconscious.

    I have done well I feel by accepting my thoughts rather than reacting to them. As random thoughts and existential thoughts are rather natural (all the more so if you are a deep thinker), and some thoughts (such as harming the self or another) are just random, and not what “I” want. It’s the adrenaline that tricks you when it accompanies the thoughts. A pattern.

    My latest and greatest struggle is intrusive thoughts about blood and the inside of my body. I’ve had the phobia of blood for years, though I got better over the years. One night however, I in bed, very tired, somewhat anxious and I was triggered by listening to a podcast and they brought up blood in the body and I began to suddenly panic for some reason, and I ended up passing out.

    Ever since I keep getting thoughts of it thrown at me, and causing me to fear my own body because I know it’s in there, then I panic and begin to become afraid of passing out and it’s like I have x-ray vision, staring at my self.

    Ironically though, before this, I was fine with my own body and internal organs. So.. it’s like these anxious intrusive thoughts try to “trick me”. Making me think I have a fear of something when I don’t. Mainly it’s fear of the thought of blood thinking it will make me pass out. Causing a cycle. My brain is in that “you can’t escape it” mode, because.. it’s a part of the natural body, blood will always be with me and hence my mind is stuck on this.. silly really, it’s being scared of your own natural body.

    Part of me figures that to cure this I need to full cure blood phobia, but when the obsession goes away, I no longer care about what is inside my body, as I formally did. So it gets very confusing for me.

    • Matthew, thanks for sharing.
      There are many interesting thoughts you bring up and I cannot address them all, nor the scope to which they could be addressed.
      Everyone with OCD has some disconnect between their emotional and mental self. By this I mean there is a difficulty these two aspects of the human experience are working together when during stress. They are minimally out of sync with each other and quite often at odds with each other. This makes it difficult to trust our emotions and reactions and the other side of you distrusts you cognitive thoughts. This can make things very confusing. Of course there is a lot more to this that makes it often unbearable to have to deal with
      Also, get out of the idea of curing your blood phobia. It is not a sickness, it is just an irrational thought attached to powerful emotions. People go through the process of obsessing often have fears mixed.
      You seem to have done a pretty good job of thinking these things through, but keep in mind, that if at any point they start getting more intense, you should find a professional to work with
      Good luck

  44. Sufferer

    Sir I don’t know since when I got this OCD . I’m pure straight guy. Last month my friends told me about a man who was gay and at that time I was shocked and from the next morning I started panicking without any thought and the next day I started fearing that what if I turned into… Then I googled everything about my fear and it turned out to be HOCD … Then I used to fear a lot. And then I read about tocd and I panicked a lot but now, only HOCD intrusive thoughts are making me angry,mad, they sometimes make me laugh also and sometimes bring terrible fear and I can’t even tell it to others. Please give me some suggestions sir…

    • Michael

      The nature of what makes OCD so unnerving is it has to play one of your values against you. In other words, if you obsessed about your neighbors dog watching you undress, that probably would not be an issue since most people don’t care if dogs are watching them. But if you have a strong identity of being straight or that being gay for you would be wrong, then it becomes a problem. Of course the mind can make anything a problem, like not knowing something or being unable to control things and then the OCD can create random ideas that most would think are not an issue
      Obsessive thoughts are the symptoms, as people with OCD often stop thinking of one idea and it can immediately be replaced by another. Stress also contributes to this
      The best solution is to work with someone who can assist you. OCD is a complex challenge, so simple answers tend not to work
      Find someone in your area or if you can’t you can always call us

  45. I want to say something.. Mine is based on my faith.. Now it has to do with how I respond to questions.. And my mind is always checking whether I am thinking about it.. It has infected almost every thought.. Like in my mind.. Even when I want to play games or watch movies it’s there. Or with an insult

  46. Is there a way to overcome anxiety disorders without having to pay for expensive therapy?

    • There are always different routes someone can take to change. However, knowing where you are and where you want to go is typically more complicated than “I have anxiety and what I want is not to have it.” Also there many types of anxiety and many anxieties overlap with other challenges. Also lifestyle choices can create or add to (or minimize) anxieties. Are these anxieties generalized or specific to certain environments? Are past unresolved events contributing to these anxieties or are current overwhelming situations the only cause? Other things could be the tendency to avoid certain types of mental or emotional challenges, are there places or aspects about yourself you don’t want to change.

      As you can see, anxieties do not come in neat little prepackaged boxes. Now you can still try different approaches to see if they help, such as meditation, tapping, and even herbal remedies. You can also read books or go to self help seminars, however all of these are better as supplements to therapy.
      Hope this helps

  47. Everyone wants to feel they have control of aspects of their life, including some handle on unwanted thoughts and emotions. We will be offer more in the future. There is always a caveat for all techniques, they are only as good our ability to use them and unfortunately they are easy to misapply


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